Sports Person of the Week
Vickerman Brings Tremendous Energy to the Ice
EJ Vickerman has three goals and 10 assists while leading the Guilford boys’ hockey squad in a senior captain’s role this season. (Photo courtesy of EJ Vickerman )
EJ Vickerman is working hard while serving as a senior captain for the Guilford boys’ ice hockey team this winter. EJ loves playing hockey and has put in plenty of extra hours improving his game, in addition to helping his teammates become better players.
EJ brings so much energy to the Indians that Head Coach Ralph Russo has a hard time taking him off the ice.
“EJ’s really strong on his feet. He’s durable,” says Russo. “He’ll insist that he can stay out there for long stretches of time, and there comes a point where I have to get him off the ice sometimes, because he just wants to keep going. But that’s the kind of energy you want out of a captain on your team.”
EJ has scored three goals to go with 10 assists at the forward position this season. EJ likes being a playmaker for Guilford on the left wing.
“It’s all about the love of the game. Once you get out there and feel it, you want to keep playing,” EJ says. “It’s fun. You just have to enjoy every moment. I don’t score a lot of goals, but I enjoy facilitating on offense and helping create opportunities for my team.”
EJ played for the Indians when they won the Division II state championship in his freshman season. As a sophomore, he took a break from the high school game to play club hockey.
“I’ve been playing hockey since I was six years old. I wanted to really focus on perfecting my game, which is why I stepped back from the team my sophomore year,” says EJ. “But I came back last season, and it’s been great. I enjoy every second on the ice with my teammates, and I want continue seeing us get better.”
Guilford has a record of 5-10-1 on the year, but EJ believes that the team is poised to make the playoffs. The Indians need two wins and a tie in their last five regular-season games in order to qualify for the Division II State Tournament.
“We’re absolutely still in great shape to make the tournament,” says EJ. “We’re in a little bit of a fluke right now. Our practices have been great, and we’re really starting to come together. I know it’s the end of the season, but there is no better time to make a run. When we win, it’s fun.”
Coach Russo feels that EJ’s effort is emblematic of everyone on the Indians and one of the biggest reasons why they’ve pulled off some gritty victories. Guilford features a young squad with 12 newcomers on its roster this season. EJ says that it took a little while for everyone to mesh.
“Every season, there’s going to be some sort of adversity. It’s about how we respond to that adversity,” EJ says. “At times, we’ve responded well and, at other times, we’ve been inconsistent. Once we get consistent all the way through, I think we are one of the best teams in the state.”
Even though his high school career is coming to a close, EJ wants to continue with hockey after he graduates from Guilford. EJ has looked into competing on the NCAA circuit, but plans to play one way or another in college.
“My family is moving to Florida, so I’m looking at schools down there right now. I’ve looked at University of South Florida, Florida Atlantic University, University of Tampa, and some smaller schools, as well,” EJ says. “More than likely, I would just play club hockey through the school I end up going to for fun.”